Legal Issue Summary Essay

1087 words - 4 pages

The Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law on July 26, 1990, is a comprehensive legislation expected to make American society more accessible to people with disabilities. Title I of the law states that businesses must provide reasonable accommodations to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of employment. Possible changes may include restructuring jobs, changing the design of workstations, or adapting equipment. Employment aspects may include the application process, hiring, wages, benefits, and all other aspects of employment. Medical examinations are highly regulated (Job Accommodation Network, 2005).In an article by Cyrus Hedayati of The Palo Alto Online News (2006), he reports a social worker with cerebral palsy was fired by the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Palo Alto, California. The social worker, Cheryl Hewitt, is battling to obtain her job back and is filing an equal employment opportunity complaint against the hospital.The hospital claims that Hewitt's disability is not the reason for termination, and the hospital has documentation to support the decision. Some of the reasons given for her dismissal are that Hewitt had her cousin take notes for her, letting her cousin copy patients' Social Security numbers onto a log sheet. Hewitt does not deny the claims that her cousin took notes for her but states patients' private information was never revealed to her cousin. Hewitt also discloses that she asked her supervisors to provide her with a note-taker because she has limited muscle control, and uses a wheelchair but she never received the help (Hedayati, 2006).Besides her supervisor’s complaining that her notes were not being completed in a timely manner, her bad handwriting was also a complaint. On occasion Hewitt had to submit her notes three times before her supervisors found the notes acceptable. Handwritten notes seem to be a tool of the past, and this situation is not understood with the age of the personal computer. Another reason the hospital cited for termination is lying on her job application. Hewitt indicated on the application she voluntarily left her employment, but the previous employer states the reason as termination (Hedayati, 2006).Other working conditions that Hewitt found unacceptable were several wires hanging under her desk and an office door that she had to close with a rope tied to the handle. Hewitt admits that she has a rope tied to door handles in her house, but the hospital's rope was six feet long and kept being tangled. The hospital promised an automated door to her office, but the door was never installed. These conditions hindered Hewitt's productivity. Mark Floding, second vice president of the local American Federation of Government Employees union chapter, is quoted saying at a press conference, "One cannot judge Hewitt's performance without giving her the proper tools to do her job" (Hedayati, 2006, p. 1).The process of filing the complaint with the hospital can...

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